It’s like 2 of the major revolutions in Digital DJing just got blended together, and at the same time smash down a remaining barrier. DVS systems like Serato and Traktor Scratch have long been thought to be the province of laptops – and only laptops. Trying to get that timecode signal into and out of Apple’s wonder tablet was thought to be quite impossible. But the clever people at iMect (makers of DJ Player and the Red Bull DJ apps) have applied their minds to issues wider than iOS and have set about bridging another digital gap.
What you see in the above video is DJ Player being controlled by vinyl. It’s not an especially complicated setup, which surprised me that nobody done it before. Inklen’s Tonetable is one DVS solution that sees iOS devices play a timecode, but this solution aims to replace the laptop with just a single iPad.
In the absence of any PR, and the video not giving a tremendous amount away, I fired of an email to Gábor Szántó from iMect with a few questions, and back came a understandably reticent, light on detail reply.
Q. I think I understand what’s happening in the video – can you explain the setup?
It’s like any other DVS setup, the turntable is connected to the iPad with a USB soundcard. We also used a phono-line converter, because the soundcard we used for this video had no phono input.
Q. The timecode – off the shelf or one of your own?
Our own, but it’s not timecode, pure sinus.
Q. Is this an iPad per deck or can one iPad handle 2 decks? If so, how does it do it?
The iPad can handle 2 decks, if the soundcard supports 4 input channels.
Q. I’m guessing this is achieved by iOS6’s advanced audio routing. How would you handle audio output from the iPad?
No, it works with iOS 5 too. The iPad on the video runs iOS 5.
Q. Is the latency good enough for DJing?
The overall latency (not just the buffer size!) is under 10 ms.
Q. Will it work with iPhones too?
The iPhone doesn’t support USB soundcards officially.
Q. This is just proof of concept right now. Do you see this as a viable option for clubs with CDJs?
Everyone thinks it’s a proof of concept. I’m happy to announce here in DJWORX, that it’s much closer to release than you think.
Q. Do you feel this is the beginning of the iPad becoming a real force in DJing? Should the laptop be worried?
It’s not our philosophy to tell the DJs “you must use this or that”. For many DJs, the iPad is already a more convenient and better looking tool than a laptop. For other DJs not. Time will tell.
So you read it here first – this is in fact quite a long way beyond proof of concept. And it seems that the final setup will be quite a lot simpler than shown in the video. More detail will be coming in the coming days and weeks. I for one am pretty excited to see how this works. And does also seem to back up my feelings that the iPad will find a place alongside, rather than instead of traditional DJ gear.
If it truly can act like a laptop and plug into an audio interface, and send audio back out in stereo with minimal latency, then we may have just witnessed another barrier coming crashing down. There is of course the issue of storage, which for some will be a major issue, but perhaps not for those who would replace a laptop with an iPad.
More to follow on this emerging story.
UPDATE: Not being native English speakers, the hilarity and connotations of “sinus” was lost on the DJ Player team. It’s now called “Pure Sine”, with an updated image above.